YouTube Video SEO: The Definitive Guide (2023)

This is a complete guide to learning YouTube Video SEO in 2023.

This guide is useful, 

  • In case you’re new to ranking videos on YouTube.
  • In case you’ve already struggled with SEO.
  • If you’re in the give-up stage, “YouTube is not working for me.”

So, the best things you’ll learn from this article:

  • How to create and optimize video. (Phase I)
  • How to do keyword research for the video. (Phase II)
  • Optimize the channel for better ranking. (Phase III)
  • How to get more views and rank videos top on YouTube search. (Phase IV)
  • Much more interesting…

What is YouTube Video SEO?

YouTube Video SEO is optimizing videos for search engines and audiences. Search engines have specific algorithms to select the best video from the user search.

For example, the general video SEO process on YouTube is adding keywords in titles, tags, hashtags, descriptions, and channel tags.

Ok, Why YouTube Video SEO is Important?

In brief, concentrating on YouTube Video SEO will help to get me more views and subscribers, rank the channel and make more money in 2023.

Take a look at the below analytics image of one of my channel growth:

Channel analytics report

Initially, one of my channel views, traffic, was really low. But after applying the SEO strategy, the graph starts to grow up.

Even though YouTube creator academy mentions that:

YouTube tips from Creator Academy

Optimizing titles and thumbnails is an essential thing to attract audiences’ attention.

It’s just a simple example.

Many YouTube video SEO things are needed to take care of if you are caring for your channel in 2023.

Some of them are,

  • Keyword placement on description and tags
  • Increasing watch time and audience retention
  • Improving video click-through-rate (Thumbnail operation)
  • Holding audiences long time on YouTube

Ok, let’s see them one by one.

Phase I: Create and Optimize YouTube Video for SEO

I hope you realize the importance of YouTube video SEO. Hence, it’s time to take action on your channel.

In this portion, we’ll mainly focus on creating and optimizing videos from the beginning.

Write Powerful Video Scripts

There are three complex parts of YouTube video SEO:

  1. Grabbing the audience to the video.
  2. Once the audience gets into the video, holding them for a long time is another big task.
  3. Audience retention is more painful than all.

Writing powerful video scripts helps to solve the second point from the list. 

1. Begin with a topic

To begin with, write down the topic. Your mind oscillates millions of topics to do the video. Filter the list, and write down the single topic.

It’s time to check whether the topic is trendy or not.

Ok, how to find it? 

Simple, Go to Google Trends and analyze it. A score between 50 to 100 is an excellent topic to approach.

Google Trends to find topic on YouTube

Another straightforward way to find is from “A YouTube search.” Go to YouTube, and type the topic in the search box.

YouTube search to find the topic of the video

You will get more idea of your topic. In addition to that, with these suggestions, you can be able to cover more sub-topics in the video.

2. Focus on the first 15 seconds

Once you develop a video topic, it’s time to write the entire script.

Audiences are impatient. If they feel the content is boring, without a second thought, they will get off the video or YouTube.

We don’t want that to happen.

Though, you have the time of the first 15 seconds to convey the point to hold them for a long time.

While writing your detailed script, consider the first 15 seconds of framing the engaging script. Start from Scratch.

Phase II: Do Keyword Research for Video SEO

One of the significant roles of YouTube video SEO is keyword usage. Because the primary focus of YouTube is “user satisfaction.” It works on some predefined algorithm to bring up the relevant content.

Let me explain clearly.

Consider you’re making a video of “how to chop onions.” But you’ve kept the video title, description, and tags as something else. Irrelevant to the video.

Assume I’m YouTube. When a user searches “onion chopping” on search, I will crawl and find the best relevant video for the user.

However, your video is super good; I won’t bring it up. Moreover, I can’t.

The summary here is a video with proper meta-data + keywords is powerful content.

Nowadays, ranking videos on YouTube is not a simple task. Without proper keyword research, success on YouTube is far from where you stand.

So, how to do keyword research? Follow the below ways.

YouTube Suggestion

Type the keyword in the search and find the list of suggestions like this. That’s enough.

YouTube Keyword Search Results

However, this is an old man technique; it will provide you with helpful sample insights to proceed further.

TubeBuddy

The famous keyword tool among YouTubers is TubeBuddy. It will crawl billions of keywords and find the apt keyword based on the search.

Keyword explorer TubeBuddy case study

In addition to that, TubeBuddy decodes the ranking position of the keyword. i.e., The green number replicates the video’s ranking position on a particular keyword.

TubeBuddy tags ranking

What I like more about this tool is finding the competitor-used keywords in a single click.

TubeBuddy competitor keyword tags finder

VidIQ

VidIQ is an alternative keyword research tool for TubeBuddy. Simple interface that eases the work on YouTube.

VidIq keyword research tool

Enter the keyword in the search box, and it will show you the list of keyword suggestions with their search volume, score, related keywords, and so on…

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a famous keyword research tool for bloggers, eCommerce business finders, and YouTubers. The result is consistently growing after using this tool.

YouTube video

In a nutshell, Ahrefs predicts the accurate keyword search volume for the list of suggested keywords.

Keyword Tool

Long tail keywords play a significant role in ranking the videos. Try to use long-tail keywords on the video tags and title with the help of the keyword tool.

Keyword tool For Youtube

Semrush

Semrush is another master-piece long-tail keyword finder tool. As of now, Semrush is famous among bloggers. From this moment, this tool is also helpful for YouTubers to get profitable keywords.

SEMrush affiliate product

Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool helps to pluck the right keyword for your video from the billions of keywords.

As I said before, long-tail keywords play a significant role in ranking the video. When it comes to YouTube video SEO and long-tail keyword finder tool, SEMrush is the best.

Phase III: Optimize Channel for Better Ranking

Here I will explain how to optimize channels and videos for better ranking.

YouTube creator academy recommends optimizing the video title and description; a thumbnail will boost the ranking and views.

Let’s see how to optimize it.

Title Optimization

The channel’s success starts with a video click. An optimized video title and the thumbnail will bring you the clicks of the video.

Let’s dig deeper into how to optimize the video titles.

1. Write a simple title

When a person comes to watch the video, she will read the title and expect the same subject in the video.

Instead of writing a long text, write it simply in easily understandable words.

Title for YouTube video

Note: Keep the length of the title within 70 characters. Beyond that, it will show like an ellipsis (three dots). 

2. Use Keywords

I hope you understand the importance of keyword research from the previous chapter.

The first place to use keywords on YouTube videos is the title. Never forget to use your target keyword on the video title.

Keyword at the beginning of the YouTube video title

For example, when I searched “Writing skills,” the first video I was given matched the keyword in the title at the beginning.

Some of the best practices for using keywords on video titles:

  • Try to start the title with the target keyword.
  • Don’t use too many keywords on the title.
  • Use keyword finder tools like TubeBuddy for high search volume and low-competition keywords.

3. Use Years and Catchy words

Will you watch a video titled “Tips to get success on YouTube in 2008”?

Most of them will ignore it because the title has the year 2008. It’s an almost 10+ years old video.

The strategy here is to update the title with the current year. It will increase the video’s visibility and click-through rate (CTR).

Video keyword at starting of the title

One more way to grab the audience’s attention is using catchy words. The words in the title, which create curiosity among the audience, help to get more clicks on the video.

Some of the catchy words are,

  • Amazing
  • Funny
  • Wow
  • Top 10
  • Shocking
  • And so on…

Write Contentful Description

Optimized video descriptions assist the YouTube algorithm in understanding more about your video.

How?

YouTube algorithm is smart. But it’s not human. Giving more information about your video in the description helps YouTube can read and categorized it into a separate buckets.

For example, consider the video description too short or inappropriate.

To be honest, without watching the video, for humans themselves, it’s hard to find what kind of video this is.

Well, the question here is how I can optimize my video description.

1. Write Readable Content

What you’re writing in the description should be easily readable to the audience.

YouTube allows you to write 5000 characters in the description part. It’s not mean that you write all in a single paragraph. It looks serious.

Where is description in YouTube video

Split it into different paragraphs and make it lovely. In the meantime, never make any typos, errors grammar mistakes in the description.

If you’re not feeling 100% sure about your English words, try to use the intelligent English grammar checker tool Grammarly. It’s free.

2. Add Timestamp

An attractive section in the description is adding a timestamp.

What is a timestamp?

They split a video into chapters, mentioning their starting time and the proper keyword.

Video Timestamp Adding Demo on Description

YouTube content creators might cover 3 to 5 chapters in a 15+ minute lengthy video. Hence, a timestamp will be juicier for YouTube to find that video. Here is the step-by-step procedure to add a timestamp.

For example, the video is about “Shopify: A Complete Guide.” It means it covers, what Shopify is, why it’s useful, how to create a Shopify account, and so on.

So, when a user searches “How to create a Shopify account,” there is a high probability that the video will pop up if it has a categorized timestamp.

In addition, a video with a timestamp also has more opportunities to show up on Google Search.

Video Timestamps for ranking in Google

Ranking on Google and YouTube is not a simple task. If adding a timestamp will give a chance means, never omit it.

3. Keyword on First Two Lines

Regarding YouTube video SEO, keywords on the first two lines of the description are essential.

Usage of keywords on Video Description

YouTube algorithm gives more importance to the first two lines. So, add your target keyword at the start or the first two lines of the description.

Also, most viewers read the first two lines of the description to know about the video.

YouTube Video Tags for SEO

However, you’re giving more information about your video in the title and description, but YouTube still digs deeper about your video in the Video tags.

Generic YouTube Tags

You need to find the low-competition and high-search volume video-related keywords and add them in tags.

Also, don’t add the same tags two or more times.

Give time to research tags using different keyword tools we discussed earlier and add them.

Another pro tip is constantly adding your channel name to all the video tags. It gives more insights into YouTube, and similar videos from your channel will appear on the suggestion when the current video plays.

YouTube Hashtags for Video SEO

Like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can also add hashtags on YouTube.

Description Hashtag example

Hashtags define the video as more specific to this kind of topic.

Use the target keywords in the hashtags. Furthermore, don’t go overboard. It should come naturally.

However, there is one disadvantage of adding hashtags. Which is,

If the user clicks the hashtag while watching the video, it will redirect to another page. You’ll lose the viewer.

Add Channel Trailer

The channel trailer video will play automatically when a new visitor comes to your channel.

Channel trailer YouTube tips

It’s the responsibility to make that video with helpful info in less time.

In the channel trailer video, tell who you are, your channel, and what value you provide to the audience.

If you’re a newbie YouTuber and don’t have time to make a trailer video, then add your recent most engaging video into the channel trailer.

If possible, then create a separate video and add it. It makes sense.

For example, check out how Marie Forlea makes her channel trailer.

YouTube video

Add Playlists

Playlists are nothing but classify all the videos on the channel into different categories.

The two main reasons for adding playlists are,

  • The audience can quickly identify your old valuable videos from the bucket.
  • When a single video plays from the playlist, and if the next sequential video is similar to the currently playing video, the audience will also watch the second video. Hence, it doubles the views.

I realized in my channel that playlists double or triple my views because I’m making videos like Part-I and Part II.

How Playlists increases the views

It creates curiosity among the audiences to watch the second, third, and so on…

When your video length exceeds your plan, make it two videos and generate more views.

Tip: When you name a playlist, add your target keyword.

Phase IV: Rank the Video and Get More Views

If we agree, I welcome you to the exciting chapter of getting more views and ranking the video on YouTube.

YouTube video SEO is hard. But when you make the process, the progress will automatically happen.

What to do to get more views? Ok, let’s dig deeper into that.

Increase CTR of the Video

When the video generates more clicks, that’s where the success path creates on YouTube.

CTR is nothing but the Click-through-Rate of the video.

People scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling,…… for a long on YouTube. We can’t predict which video the viewer is going to click on.

The first interaction point of pulling the audience is a pretty thumbnail.

Create CTR Thumbnail

What makes the thumbnail unique?

For example, take a look at the Bright Side channel thumbnails. It’s all simply astounding and clickable, right?

Thumbnail and title to increase CTR of the video

That’s where the user interaction and channel growth start.

In the meantime, the YouTube AI algorithm reads the images and observes what objects are in them. Hence, remember that the custom thumbnail is for audience attraction and YouTube video SEO.

Tips for working on thumbnail:

  • Make the thumbnail images biggy.
  • Add the funny face reactions if the video has.
  • Make the text more readable.
  • If you have enough time, try to make a separate thumbnail photoshoot.
  • Don’t use irrelevant thumbnails.

Avoid Clickbait titles and thumbnails.

Let me be clear with you about what clickbait is.

Adding unrelated video titles and thumbnails for the sake of pulling the audience’s view is clickbait.

Clickbait is helpful for a specific limit, but when you misuse it, it will make a huge traffic loss on your channel.

Audience retention is an essential YouTube SEO factor. So, clickbait decreases your audience retention level.

Make Lengthy videos

Video length is the talk of the town among YouTube creators nowadays.

What is the perfect video length?

To be honest, there is no ideal number for that. It may be 15+ minutes or 5 minutes.

But from the data analysis, I have seen that video with more than 15+ minutes length ranks better on YouTube.

YouTube video

Remember that making a lengthy video with fluff content is useless for you, me, and YouTube.

Audience Stay Time on YouTube

YouTube says the channel will benefit if less clicking and more watching happens.

In a nutshell, when you hold an audience for a long time on the YouTube platform, YouTube loves it.

As I said before, adding playlists improves the session time of the audience on YouTube.

But here I will give you another helpful tip to increase the watch time of the audience on YouTube, mainly revolving around your channel.

It’s nothing but adding EndScreen and Cards.

Add End Screen and Card Template

The end screen adds other videos and subscribes button at the end of the current video.

Add end screen on YouTube video

It pushes the audience to watch other videos when the current video completes.

The card template is the same as the end screen, ex: when you make videos, you may refer to other videos, right? That time the card template is more beneficial to point out at a particular time.

Engage with User

Users engaging with the channel in different places,

  • Like
  • Comment
  • Share
  • Subscribe

However, the Comment Section is the audience’s direct place to interact with the creator.

So, what you need to do:

First of all, responding to the comments clears user doubts. It directly builds the audience’s trust level in the channel.

Whatever comment it is, try to reply to all, even if it’s a repeating comment.

TubeBuddy Smart Comment Reply

The more you engage with your audiences, the higher the channel’s ranking position will stay.

Increase Subscribers

More Subscribers = More Views.

So, the way to increase subscribers on YouTube:

1. Ask the audience to subscribe 

Asking them to subscribe to the channel at the video’s start or end is an old-man technique.

But it’s still worth doing.

In the meantime, asking them to subscribe at the end video makes more sense than asking it at the start.

2. Add Strange String

Along with the channel URL, add this. For example, like this,

Channel URL +  “?sub_confirmation=1”

So, what it means?

When the user clicks this “Strange URL,” your channel subscription dialog box will pop up.

Channel Subscribtion dialogue

This way triggers the user to subscribe to the channel.

3. WaterMark Subscribe Button

An easy way to increase your subscriber count is by adding a watermark subscribe button on the video.

This is what it looks like,

An example of adding subscribe button

I have already covered a guide to adding a watermark subscribe button on YouTube videos.

Just ensure that the button must be 150*150px and the size of the images is less than 1MB.

In the meantime, you can even use your channel logo as the watermark subscribe button.

4. Channel Analytics

The question is how to channel analytics improve subscriber count.

Well, directly, it’s not going to impact the subscribers. But indirectly, it can.

Firstly, always analyze your channel analytics every week. This gives you clear insights into which type of video gets more engagement and which is not.

Channel Performance Playlist analytics

For example, if the video gets more views than usual, there is some unique thing in that video, right?

With that information, you can directly apply those to other videos. One step further, you can also add that top-notch video as your channel trailer.

The only way to correct your mistakes is by investigating channel analytics. 

In the meantime, don’t get emotional or depressed that videos are not getting views. Good things take time!

With all the above helpful tips, let’s get into the frequently asked questions.

FAQs: YouTube Video SEO

1. What is Video SEO?

Video SEO is optimizing the video to rank better on YouTube. It directly increases video views, subscribers, fame, and revenue. 

2. What is SEO’s complete form?

SEO = Search Engine Optimization

3. What are YouTube Video SEO tools?

Whatever tool helps to rank the video on YouTube is a Video SEO tool. If you want to mention it specifically, I would say the best SEO tool for YouTubers is TubeBuddy.

4. Tell me the top SEO strategy?

The top strategies are:
> Proper keyword usage on the video title, description, and tags.
> Using attractive custom thumbnails.
> Outstanding, engaging video content.

I hope you learned new stuff from this definitive YouTube Video SEO guide.

It’s your time to ask questions, and I would like to hear more interesting questions from you.

Just leave a comment about your doubts. I usually reply to all the comments.

I will see you in the next post on how to start a YouTube channel.

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